Andy Gem­mell’s Drinks Cab­i­net

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Loch Lomond Dis­tillery Lomond Es­tate, Alexan­dria

His­tory: Some read­ers might be sur­prised to learn that there is a dis­tillery not far from the banks of Loch Lomond. It one of the most dis­tinc­tive dis­til­leries I have ever vis­ited but it is def­i­nitely not your stereo­typ­i­cal quaint and pic­turesque Scot­tish dis­tillery. From the out­side you would be for­given for think­ing it is not even a dis­tillery un­til you see the vast stacks of oak casks lin­ing the road to its en­trance. Loch Lomond dis­tillery opened in 1964, with pro­duc­tion beginning the fol­low­ing year. Af­ter a pe­riod of clo­sure at the beginning of the 1980s, Alexan­der Bul­loch and the Glen Ca­trine com­pany ac­quired the busi­ness and re­sumed malt pro­duc­tion in 1987. Grain whisky pro­duc­tion be­gan in 1993 and two new malt stills were added in 1999. In re­cent years the or­gan­i­sa­tion has held back in mak­ing spir­its for other com­pa­nies and put a ma­jor fo­cus on re­brand­ing their prod­ucts and mar­ket­ing them all over the world, with great suc­cess.

The whisky: With most dis­til­leries in Scot­land, of which there are more than 100, you will usu­ally find a “house style” which runs through their prod­ucts, smokey, fruity, flo­ral etc. At Loch Lomond, they don’t ad­here to that ethos. This dis­tillery pro­duces a blended range of whiskies, a Loch Lomond sin­gle grain, Loch Lomond sin­gle malts, Inch­mur­rin sin­gle malts and Inch­moan sin­gle malts. Each brand has its own flavour pro­file and unique pro­duc­tion method, thus cre­at­ing a di­verse range of whiskies all com­ing from one dis­tillery.

Favourite tip­ple: It is a tough call but if I had to choose, I’d go for Loch Lomond 18-yearold, which is packed with fruity flavours and a hint of smoke, and you can pick it up for around £75.

Why visit? This dis­tillery is not open to the pub­lic but any­one used to the post­card im­age of a dis­tillery, with its old build­ings sur­rounded by lus­cious green fields, is not go­ing to get this dis­tillery. It is built for pro­duc­tion of sev­eral dif­fer­ent prod­ucts and doesn’t care that it’s not beau­ti­ful but if you are into your whisky then, like me, you will think this is one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing and cool dis­til­leries you will ever visit. I’ve been lucky enough to visit here quite a few times and I’ve learned some­thing new ev­ery time. If you are a su­per whisky geek you can al­ways try and blag a pri­vate visit with the own­ers.

Geek alert: At Loch Lomond dis­tillery there are four dif­fer­ent types of dis­til­la­tion. Con­tin­u­ous dis­til­la­tion cre­ates high-strength spir­its for their blends, a smaller con­tin­u­ous still is used to cre­ate the Loch Lomond sin­gle grain brand, tra­di­tional pot stills are used in the sin­gle malt and lastly there are the weird and won­der­ful straight-neck pot stills some­times bet­ter known as “Lomond stills”.

In­ter­est­ing fact: Loch Lomond marks the bound­ary be­tween the Low­lands and the High­lands of Scot­land. This area has been at the heart of the whisky in­dus­try for cen­turies. Sadly, though, at least nine dis­til­leries around the loch have been lost over the years, leav­ing Loch Lomond Dis­tillers to main­tain a proud lo­cal tra­di­tion into the 21st cen­tury.

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